Author presents array of solutions to create privacy in a landscape
Used to be, the solution for somebody seeking privacy in the garden was to plant a row of arborvitae and lurk in the shadows. But we have evolved. There are now as many solutions as there are situations.
An expert in bringing privacy to the garden is Marty Wingate, whose book, “Landscaping for Privacy: Innovative Ways to Turn Your Outdoor Space Into a Peaceful Retreat” (Timber Press), explores myriad options.
“I’ve wanted to write this book for years,” says Wingate, who gardens in Seattle. “It’s an accumulation of questions I get when I give talks, when I’m on the radio.”
We threw a few of those privacy-challenged situations at Wingate and got her thoughts.
Trees: Trees can do wonders, but you have to make the right choice.
“I always suggest that people look to their local (Cooperative) Extension Service,” she says.
“In addition to focusing on small trees, I also recommend that people look at their city’s street trees list. They list them not only for climate, but ... by characteristic.”
The hedgerow: People are getting more adventurous and don’t believe they have to look like the house next door, Wingate says. That extends to hedges. She recommends a mixed hedgerow as opposed to a more formal hedge.
A mixed hedge, she explains, might include “two or three evergreens, deciduous bushes.”
Some plant ideas: The book offers several pages of plant lists, broken down into categories. With such an expansive playbook, there’s no reason for dull uniformity.
“We have a tendency to plant junipers out here,” Wingate explains. “People plant them on an incline. Sadly, they’ll put them someplace and not consider drainage. Junipers need good drainage. If they don’t, they get root rot.”
Cutting corners: When you live on a corner, people cut across the corner of your lot. Fence or plants? Wingate says a solution depends on your neighborhood and neighbors.
“Sometimes you just imply there’s a barrier,” she says. “Sometimes just a few plants, sometimes you have to put something up to keep them from walking.”